Exclusive promo video to promote the launch of The Crazy Nigerian – a hilarious memoir of mishaps and misadventures, by Tonwa Anthony. Enjoy!
Exclusive promo video to promote the launch of The Crazy Nigerian – a hilarious memoir of mishaps and misadventures, by Tonwa Anthony. Enjoy!
I received an office email yesterday informing me about an important meeting at my employer’s head office slated for Thursday. I rushed through the mail like I did with others (because there were always just too many mails and too little time). I absorbed the key facts – Date, Time, Venue and then carried on with my outdoor marketing. Today I even decided to read that mail again to confirm the floor I was going to (22nd floor…sure hope the lift is working). I was running very late as I got held up in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam (and unlike most major cities, in Lagos Island its ALWAYS rush hour). I got to the building 1.5hours late and was bracing myself for a reprimand.
Whilst waiting for the elevator I was conjuring up excuses for my lateness – ‘I fainted from dehydration’, ‘There was a road-block that was caused by a runaway cow’, ’My mailbox couldn’t open until about an hour ago’. ‘Nah, they’re all too lame’, I thought. I got to the meeting room and met what looked like the aftermath of the meeting – people coming out of the room and saying their goodbyes to the host/sender of the email (yikes!). I took a deep breath and walked up to him with an honest apology for my lateness. But before I could consider dropping an excuse he left me dumbfounded when he said, ’Didn’t you read the memo? The meeting is for Thursday, December 2nd!’. What was my response? ’Well THAT certainly takes care of the feeling of guilt for coming late.’ We both had a hearty chuckle, at my expense.
What were my learning points?
Just when I thought life was becoming a little bit boring and predictable I experienced a sudden rush of adrenaline 2 nights ago around 8pm when I heard a loud bang in my bathroom. There wasn’t any electricity at the time and I was alone in my flat. I walked past the bathroom (which serves as a spare for guests and is separate from my ensuite) and for a second I thought it was a gun-shot. The next I thought was that my sink had fallen apart or the shower curtain rail came crashing down…but surely it must have been a fire cracker or something. With the light from my Nokia E75 I sneaked into the bathroom and inspected the surroundings and then I tripped on something metallic. I picked it up and at first I thought it might have been part of a heavy duty nail but on closer inspection I realized it was a bullet.
The first thing I would have done at this point is call in the CSI (Las Vegas) team to do their nifty forensic work. I would let Grisham bamboozle me with words like ‘Trajectory’ and ‘Ricochet’ and the watch them as they scamper around looking for the ‘Entry point’. That night I barely slept because I felt this wasn’t random. I’ve lived in this flat for close to 6months and nothing like this has ever happened. I couldn’t help but ask myself, ‘Was someone trying to kill me?’
I had a mental list of people I suspected I had ticked-off and probably wanted my blood as payback:
I found later the following day that there was a hole in my bathroom ceiling. Part of the shape was an exact replica of the bullet lying horizontally. I expected the shape to be round. There were no holes in my window or walls so I got Googling…asking the seemingly dumb question, ‘Can a bullet go off by itself?’
I was pleasantly suprised indeed when I came across the following answer from Yahoo! Answers: “No. Something has to make contact with the primer or cause the primer to get really hot. Dropping or hitting a round, or throwing it into a fire can cause it ignite.” So it was actually possible for the bullet to have just gone off without being in a gun chamber. By the looks of the photo above, the bullet must have been lying flat when it suddenly penetrated the ceiling unto my bathroom floor. So how could this be explained further?
If you observe in the diagram opposite, my bullet is very similar and there is actually a primer at the back of the bullet (labelled ’5′). What could have triggered it? Heat? If so why didn’t it go off in the peak of the hot afternoon? Why in the evening after dark? Could a mouse or rat have been tampering with the primer before the bullet went off? I didn’t see any rodent body parts or blood around the crime scene. This bullet just descended by its own free will.
Thankfully I wasn’t doing a ‘Number 2′ when this near-homicide took place. Just imagine, being found dead with a bullet in your head, pants halfway down, toilet unflushed and no trace of a killer. That’s what I call a freak accident – Perhaps this can be used for the next Final Destination movie installment ( …I think they should be working on part 5 now.) But this begs the question, what kind of tenants where living in this apartment before I moved in? Drug barons?, Assassins? Ex-military mercenaries? Are there anymore bullets lying up there in my ceiling. Even worse, is there gun cache up there? a dead body? If I start to smell something funny (and I know it’s not me) then I’m going up there to investigate…
N.B – That black spot in the celing is the bullet hole…crikey!
Well how can I forget September 2008 when my bank was having its financial year end (which in the Nigerian Banking industry means every bank starts to scramble around for large money deposits in order to claim the no.1 spot for having the largest liability base…the grand prize being that you get to keep your job!).
I remember how fellow colleagues would genuinely fall ill with stress, some with high blood pressure, and why? All because they got SMS/text messages at odd hours of the day (including weekends) from bosses who taunt them to AGGRESSIVELY PURSUE current accounts and fixed term deposits or to REALIZE GROWTH in their account portfolio. I remember when each week would be inundated with impromptu meetings – meetings with other bank branches’ marketing team and their respective managers. Such gruelling sessions were like the ‘Show and Tell’ in Elementary/Primary School…only, you were showing to the whole audience how you planned to leap from a balance sheet of N100m (One Hundred Million Naira) to N250m in under 3weeks. I remember the tall tales marketing staff used to tell…stories of fat cheques that were due the following week…and then the following week…and then the following week. I remember how they had to defend their jobs by justifying why they should still be paid their salary.
I remember how the boldest and most confident of marketers would suddenly be reduced to a bucket of nerves as they stuttered through their cock and bull Deposit Mobilization strategies. Of course their bosses were quick to ridicule and threaten them with a letter of displeasure – that’s a prelude to a sack, in simple English. I remember how some marketers avoided the subsequent meetings especially when the millions they promised the previous week never materialized. Oh, how I remember how some banks would accept to pay to willing Fixed Deposit customers outrageous rates well above that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in some cases staff would make up the interest difference from their own personal funds to pay to the oblivious, greedy customer. I remember the pressure got so much that you could cut the tension in bank branches with a knife. You were almost driven to the point of holding customers at gunpoint just so they took you more seriously and coughed out the millions that we so stupidly thought they were hiding at home under their matresses.
I remember how some marketing staff would encourage their known customers to move funds from competitor banks into ours. Even worse was when a branch within the bank moved funds from another bank branch, meaning the bank as a whole wasn’t actually growing but suffering a bout of indigestible cannibalization of accounts. I remember hearing stories of female marketers who would ‘stoop so low’ just to get a measly million into their account portfolio…and in some unfortuante cases were given dud cheques: a classic Lose-Lose situation.
I remember how the month would draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag and your demanour was truly tested. Some who couldn’t take the heat or the humiliation any longer dropped their resignation letters and stayed at home waiting for the grass to get greener somewhere else…anywhere else. I remember how some skilled marketers would turn on the waterworks when a customer came into the branch to make a portfolio-shattering withdrawal in this ‘ember’ month. I remember how I almost uttered to my superior ‘What are YOU doing to ensure that we grow our deposit base? Show me YOUR prospect list! How much money have YOU brought today? How many phone calls have YOU made? Why should the bank still be paying YOUR salary???’ I remember it all too well and now I have another 13days to go before I can even begin to forget September 2009. “Lord, give me strength…”
‘I would like some tea, please. Don’t ask me HOW I would like it. Don’t try to make small talk with me. Up until 2minutes ago we were total strangers. You are not doing this because you want to. You are doing this because you have to. Don’t try to stall me with questions that would only intensify a thirst which, before you came prouncing along, wasn’t initially there. Just pour it and drop it and I’ll try not to sip it and spill it. I don’t care if it’s Iced Tea or Regular hot tea. I don’t care if its Earl Grey, De-Caff, Herbal or Chai Tea. I don’t care if it’s made by Lipton, Twinning’s, PG Tips, Tetley or low-budget teabags made for Economy class passengers. I don’t care if it comes with milk either so don’t ask me if I want full creamed, skimmed, semi-skimmed, evaporated, condensed, powdered, or any other white liquid substance that was supposedly drawn from a cow…or goat for that matter. Don’t assume that I would use the sugar in the sachet. You don’t know if I like to use sweetners. You don’t know if I take my tea with honey. You must be thinking that if I allowed you to ask how I take my tea I could have responded with a single-sentence which would save time and energy for both you and I? Well I would have said something like “I take it in a teacup like everyone else” – not the kind of answer you would like to hear. So now that you’ve probably learnt a thing or two (or not) ask me how I would like take my tea…I dare you’ xD
…Al Megrahi would still be in jail. Well unless there is any evidence to say that he was not involved in the Lockerbie bombing I think he shouldn’t have been released on ‘compassionate grounds’. Yes I deliberately put that in inverted commas because, let’s face it, that’s a whole lot of bull****! Why else would Seif Al-Islam, the son of Col. Gaddafi (the ridiculously oil-rich Libyan leader) claim that every time British diplomats came over to discuss business in the past he would push forward a written request for the bomber’s release which was constantly refused…until now.
To make matters even worse for Britain, Gaddafi himself makes a public statement to the news media thanking UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew for encouraging the Scottish government to release Megrahi. Of course Britain quickly steps up to the plate in the guise of a creepy Lord Mendelson (Business Secretary) to deny all allegations of a trade deal as ‘implausible’ and ‘offensive’. Have you stopped to ask yourself whether the Scottish government have ever released a prisoner on the grounds of a terminal illness? Is there absolute conclusive evidence to confirm that Megrahi really has only less than 3months to live?
Britain has to be careful that it doesn’t damage its relations with the U.S government. 270 innocent people lost their lives after an explosive was detonated in a passenger plane in Lockerbie, Scotland. About 170 of the victims were American. Al Megrahi was convicted after Scotland Intelligence claimed that he was involved in the bombing but was not willing to cough up the names of his accomplices. Megrahi (more commonly referred to as The Lockerbie Bomber) claims he is not responsible for killing anyone but he doesn’t actually deny being part of the syndicate that masterminded this massacre…hmm.
Americans and other revolting citizens watched as Megrahi returned to Libya…in style – cruising in Gaddafi’s private jet, relaxing at a nifty 2-storey manor and enjoying celebrity-acclaim amongst the Libyan residents. The sickening bit for me is that I have not seen one sign of remorse since he was released. He’s smiling now though, probably thinking, ‘بفضل النفط الليبي أنا على الأراضي الليبية’ ! (Ok, if you’re that curious you can translate this in this pretty cool link…or not)
As the principal of International School Ibadan announced that the JSCE (Junior Secondary School Examination) results would be posted up in front of her office I felt nauseous. I wasn’t sure if it was bad luck to have already gotten trouser measurements done at my local tailor before the exam results were released. What if I didn’t make it through? My trousers would be bloody useless and I’d have to endure another year in I.S.I wearing a pair of A.H.Is (AssHole Irritants). Girls had no problem because their blue-white striped dress/uniform didn’t have to look any different from junior to senior year. Thankfully I breathed a sigh of relief as I attained 2A’s and 5C in my 8subjects (I’m not mentioning what I got in Yoruba language). I vaguely remember jumping up and down like a deranged rottweiler that had a piece of meat dangled over its head. I proceeded to run into the nearby open field with fellow classmates who also sailed through the exams. We ran like we were being chased by… Rottweilers. I almost failed to take notice of the few guys whom we left behind moping at their inadequate grades and therefore bore long faces (okay, not like Rottweilers…more like Dobermen!)
Of course this next chapter in my school life called for a celebration. I took it upon myself to have a small get-together for my ‘Class of 1993′. Unfortunately I didn’t have an much more than the Naira equivalent of £10 back then which could just barely cater for about 20-30 guests max (I must have been nuts!). I invited 25 schoolmates to my cousin’s crib where I resided, about 60 eventually showed up and filled up almost every part of the house! I soon quickly realised that 48 bottled drinks (2 crates) would not quite cut the ’3:1 guzzling ratio’ of my invitees. The 2 small coolers of cooked rice and chicken didn’t go round because I didnt plan for the following: Boarder boys and girls sneakings out of their hostels; Geeks/Nerds/Bookworms/Efikos gate crashing; and schoolmates from the set below mine (JSS3) also taking advantage of the fact that I did not have a bouncer to ‘man the door’. So I had geeks playing video games in the TV room, boarder girl escapees changing clothes in my cousin’s bedroom, boarder boys slow-dancing with girls in the living room whilst my Aunt was within the house. There was no DJ but just one raga tape being put on the loop courtesy of all the horny boys hoping to literally tap some ass from a slowdance. The 5kg cake and 2 tubs of ice-cream I had planned for dessert was not going to be able to feed THIS multitude. This wasn’t a get-together…this was a get-together-everybody-who-heard-about-this-party. I mean some of the guests there didnt even know my name or the fact that I was hosting this fiasco. To make matters worse, the girl I had a crush on was busy slowdancing with some guy I didnt even invite, Meanwhile I was busy trying to feed the hungry, entertain the bored, and save my shaky reputation all at the same time. I was glad when it was all over, to say the least. The house survived with 2 shattered drinking glasses and a broken window lever. I on the other hand remained intact!
In an amazing twist of fate, I was hailed by the majority of my set for making a noble effort at throwing a shindig (which I’d rather remember as a ‘shit-dig’). The geeks were even more grateful because they knew that they may never gain such easy access into a party again. I somehow became everybody’s pal…the one who didn’t discriminate…the one who didn’t stop the music and shout “ALL BOYS OUT!” and proceeded to reveal a list of boys who were not given the fake invitation cards…no, I wasn’t seen as cruel…I was Mr.Nice guy Subsequent parties got better and better (no thanks to me). I do remember one guy who threw a party but would have sooner thrown himself over a bridge after only 1 girl turned up amidst a house filled with over 15guys…a case of bad advertising? Well, the grub didn’t go to waste.
Ah yes, those grey trousers really were worth the 3 year-wait. I was ‘toasting’ girls a one class year or two below me and feeling pretty cool with my skinny self. I was later appointed by my principal as the school’s Health Prefect, though for the love of God I never found out what a health prefect was nor did I know what my responsibilities were supposed to be. I just made sure the sick bay was hygenic and wasn’t congested or saturated with students who were feigning illness. I was given a badge which I wore proudly like a sheriff. If only I went guns blazing a little less when it came to asking a girl, ‘Will you go out with me?…’
…is another man’s treasure? Well I’ve got a Nokia 7900 Prism that says ‘NO!’ – thats if you want to keep beating the life out of it everytime it freezes when a message comes through it. I can vaguely remember how I strolled into the Nokia shop barely a year ago, coughed out N70,000 (which is over £200 or over $300) and was one of the ‘privileged’ few to be pouncing around town with a phone which got quite a lot of ‘Ooh! Nice phone!’, ‘It’s unique!’, ‘I haven’t seen this before!’, (Hindsight – thanks to you gawkers I didnt return the phone sooner to get a refund).
It was as slim as kate moss, black as Whoopi’s lips, had more colour theme choices than Amy Winehouse’s make-up artist (oops, I forgot she does it herself), and boasted more tricks than Harry Potter’s wand. Well I was tricked alright. I was tricked into thinking an engraved Aluminium casing was mega cool. For N70,000 I should be getting at least Titanium, shouldn’t I? For N70,000 I should be getting not just 1GB of built-in memory but 3GB! For 70,000 bleeping Naira I should be getting more than a 2 mega-pixel camera, FM radio and bluetooth – bluetooth! What genius came up with THAT term? The next pushy salesperson that offers me a ‘BLUETOOTH’ will get a ‘BLACKEYE’.
I will not be ripped off again (Aaaaargh!!!) I shall not succumb to the…oh my…could it be? Could Nokia be entrancing me yet again with a nonsenical technological blunder utterly unworthy to be categorized as a cutting-edge mobile phone? Its so slick…stylish…kinky…qwerty…look at it slide…the screen is huge…how much is it? How much? I think I’m falling for the E75…shh, I just can’t help it. I hate you Nokia…making me spend my money…and in 8months I know this’ll be trash too…but for 11years now when has that ever stopped me
Interviewer: “Looking back to when Nigerian Interrupted hit WordPress, what has made it worth your while?”
Jollof: “I can’t explain it – That feeling of excitement when I suddenly see a surge in my page views, the reviews, the comments…I guess coupled with the fact that I’m the ‘Author/Moderator/CEO’ around here I know it’s mostly my effort (well, WordPress have to take some credit for the tools). It got me questioning myself, ‘Am I writing what I want or what I think people want to read?’
With me it’s a bit of both. I’m a bit of a control freak so there’s no way I’m letting anyone type for me, first of all. All ideas come from my exposure to the Net, all media, the real world, my experiences and random thoughts. If I don’t have a gut feeling that I should write about something then I don’t. I need to chuckle a bit when I’m typing the material so I know it deserves the CrazyNigerian seal of approval.
However I do listen to feedback. What I gathered before changing my blog design (to incorporate the iconic ‘Photo fun’ redneck lizard) was that I needed more pictures and a better web layout. Surprisingly my page views have since picked up. The comments on my content have mostly been positive. I don’t know if I wrote what they wanted to read or if they were just curious about the utterances of a crazy Nigerian. Either way, it seems I’m doing something right…but not always right. The highest number of page views I ever received in a single day was a measly 96 until 23rd June when I received 103 views (so the 100-mark is not that elusive after all!) Today I average about 10-20 views daily and…HEY! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I’VE NOT FINISHED YET! I’M STILL TALKING TO YOU!!!”
Earlier today I was just craving for a bit of toast, which I dont eat regularly. And I suddenly had a flashback to the early 80s when I heard this peculiar song by Streetband (A UK group). The song is kinda irritating now when I hear it but as a kid it made me laugh for whatever reason beknown to me. Was it the way the lead singer, Paul Young, was just chatting away throughout the song, the cheesy chorus, the crunching sounds of someone biting through toast or was it just the monologue-rap with the corny beat and the silly sound effects…wait, I think I hear the kettle boiling! Well, I’m going to share this excruciating audio experience with you, my inquisitive readers. Get your butter knives out and lets make…
Women – a mystery to some, a weakness to many (men and lesbians, that is). I too have fallen prey to the clutches of the female species. I vaguely remember one particular woman who locked me down for about 9months. I felt trapped. I wanted to break free but at the same time I wanted to stay. I was so confused that I had to have a third party separate us. I actually cried my eyes out but today we’re still in touch and on good terms.
The second woman whose birthday was on 27th June (so if you’re reading this, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!) was one whom I shared a Mr. & Mrs. Smith relationship with…literally. On one occasion she chased me round the house with an 8-inch kitchen knife – she couldn’t catch me though (phew!). We have an understanding now and we’ve learned to keep our distance – I’m in Nigeria, she’s in Great Britain…
The third woman who messed with my mind was like a brother to me…the brother I never had…actually, I wished she was a boy…okay I know how that can confuse you right now. You probably wondering, ‘…but I thought he liked women!’ I do…and I’m not bisexual either. Let me break it down: 1st woman – My mother; 2nd woman – my junior sister; 3rd woman – my baby sister.
Yes, my ‘affairs’ with all these women still continues and I’m not done yet. I mentioned ’4 women’ in my post title. Well in 2010 the fourth woman I deeply love will be the one I’ll spend the rest of my life with…God willing
I was going to post something else but just 3hrs ago I saw such a powerful video on my cable TV. It was one by the rock band Nickelback entitled ‘Saving Me’. At first you think its just any other video but as the story unfolds you start to see just how clever the concept of the video is. Now, I’m not going to spoil this for those of you who haven’t seen it. But what if life today was similar to how it was depicted in this video? There would be a whole new sense of purpose…A constant search for the truth…A new connection with the people who surround you…A desperation to make every second count…
What I’d give to see one of those ‘Second Counters’ over Robert Mugabe’s head…I’m just curious
Ladies and Gentlemen, an invasion is upon us! In the 21st century a new evil has befallen planet earth. The shape-shifting creatures of the damned lurk into your very households whilst you watch the news, sip your tea, and pick your nose. These venemous scum leach unto the married couples of our time and cause havoc and destruction in a systemmatic manner. They are more commonly known as… Homewreckers
So how do you know if you’ve been stung by a homewrecker? When she notices a hotel receipt in his jacket and she hasn’t been to one with him…ever. When he stumbles across his wife’s missing earring by the couch in his best friend’s apartment. When she looks through his mobile phone and she reads the text/SMS, ‘I can’t wait to see you again.Same time tomorrow?’
Maybe that’s all a bit too obvious. What about bad drinking habits, gambling, drug addiction, Job loss, Ponzi schemes and hard earned stocks & investments taking a nose dive? What about family ties? Blood is thicker than water, right? What if your mother-in-law (who’s a pain-in-the-neck) comes to live with you? ‘NO WAY!’ I hear you say? What if your partner doesn’t want you to put her in an old people’s home? What then?
But I guess the most deceptive and destructive of all the Homewreckers is the Internet…and the blogworld plays a massive part alongside Facebook, Ebay and Free Porn. Guys who spend more time clicking the mouse than kissing the spouse soon become victims of a home about to be bulldozed, metaphorically speaking.
CrazyNigerian’s Final Thought: Fellow bloggers, if you have a partner then spend less time blogging. And if you don’t have a partner…spend less time blogging
What’s in a kiss? Saliva? Sure! That’s if it’s a wet kiss. But if your partner has gum problems or uses a very soft toothbrush then there’s probably some blood to go with that saliva (Urgh!). If you’ve just had dinner before that kiss then there’s probably a whole bunch of food particles swimming through a bloody saliva stream all the way down your oesophagus (okay, stay with me here). If your partner has protruding teeth then there are probably some braces to go with that slimy blood pool. Thinking about dry-kissing instead, eh? I don’t blame you.
I for one like to think that I’m a smooth kisser…you know, those sedative-type kisses that leave lips numbed to sleep. I believe a perfect kiss should be timed, literally. A kiss that lasts for 2 seconds is way too short and a kiss that lasts for 20secs can quickly become a drooling grueling task of endurance (c’mon, that’s a lot of bloody plaque saliva/exchange).
Anything between 10 and 15secs is ideal. With practice anyone can time a kiss…kinda like knowing your body-clock – you just instinctively know when to wake up sometimes. Tongue kissing should ALWAYS be avoided in the morning…yes, even if you’ve brushed the night before, downed a bottle of Listerine, chewed a pack of Wrigleys Extra and recently became the face of Macleans ads.
If your mouth is closed for over 5hrs after all that I’m willing to bet that your breath isn’t exactly a trip to the Alps (unless you sleep with your mouth open…but I’d be worried about what could crawl in). And the next time you save someone from drowning and you need to give him or her mouth-to-mouth please don’t stick your tongue in…that’s a tongue-in-cheek moment if I’ve ever heard of one
I went gaga over her but who wouldn’t! She’s like a Christiana Aguilera but only sexier. But what’s with that song…so catchy…kinky yet satisfying. Poker face? What would a poker face look like? I’ve got this image of a face made out of cards or one in the shape of a heart (alien), spade (conehead), diamond (Kate Moss) or…a club (now that one would look downright scary). Anyway, when I first heard the song I thought she was saying poke-her-face! It even got more saucy when she went ‘p-p-p-poke her face, p-p-p-poker her face, mum mum mum ma – What! now you want your mum to do it! Oh boy. And then I thought ‘How vulgar!’ Poke her face with what? Definitely not lipgloss. I like the way the expression gets you thinking…I mean, if someone you offended suddenly snapped and called you Poker face then I don’t think you’d be thanking ‘em for the compliment. On the other hand, if you play poker then you’d probably just think the expression is a kind of face you find difficult to read or intepret. Hmm…it just occurred to me that the lizard in my header for this page has a poker face that is pretty confusing. I think he’s happy
Today was not just any ordinary day. Today I was decked up in a dashing dickie-bow tie, tux and bad-ass chelsea boots – The ideal gentleman if I do say so myself. But it wasn’t quite the picnic I expected it to be. Being the best man (at least back here in Nigeria) is a bit like being the errand boy/houseboy/servant…call it what you want. I was at their service – holding the sweaty hankies, fetching the relatives who were scattered across the hall, picking up ALL the money sprayed unto the couple whilst they were dancing…yes, all in my £150 tuxedo. My head was drenched in sweat but I was armed with 2 hankies. I didn’t get a chance to eat – all I had was bottled water for breakfast, sweets during the church service and a malt drink during the reception (my stomach and I kissed and made up when I got back home to chow down). But it was all worth it. In fact, I feel like wearing it once in a while just for the look of it. And then I look in the mirror, adjusting my cuffs which obviously dont need adjusting like they do in the movies, with a smirk on my face and then I go ‘The name is Nigerian…Crazy Nigerian
I went to a wedding in another state in Nigeria – Oyo state. It was supposed to be a 3 hr drive from Lagos but ended up being 4hrs with all potholes we had to dodge. The wedding was quite grand and I was served the best dishes, wine and got exceptional service…or at least I thought so. I looked to the table beside me and they were getting everything I didnt – they got big succulent fish…I got small pieces of tough beef, they got alcohol wine from South Africa…I got grape juic in a wine bottle both made in Nigeria, they got chilled soft drinks, but though I was served mine first, they were warm - obviously their’s was stored close to ice.
I didn’t want this experience to spoil my road trip but I must admit it hurt a bit. As if to compensate me and those at my table, we all got gift items/souvenirs of the wedding to take home – a dish and a couple-name engraved tea mug all in a recyclable nylon bag(not bad eh?). On leaving the shindig, getting into my car, I noticed a gentleman no more well-dressed than myself but carrying a luxurious branded shopping bag of premium goodies. Life is not fair at all…
But on the upside, My blog will soon have more than 1000 views, yay!!!
Yesterday I dont know what came over me. I was driving back from work late about 8pm when this massive commercial bus started blaring its horn behind me. There was no room in front of me, I wasn’t slowing down, and I sure as hell wasn’t stopping the driver from overtaking me. This nuisance continued for a good 5mins. I was getting attention I did not want. I felt humiliated. I felt like every other driver was laughing at me. I had enough…
I swerved off the middle lane and stayed on the lefthand side, allowing the impatient bufoon to pass by – and that’s when my MOM (Moment Of Madness) paid an unexpected visit. I swerved back into the middle lane behind the bus and guess what I did next
BEEP! BEEP! BEEEEEEP! BEP BEP BEEEEEEEEEEP….BEEP….BEEP….BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The bus driver started attempting to get off the lane. I started chasing him – I don’t know what the hell for though. Other drivers were grinning as I beeped a ‘happy-birthday-to-you’ sounding tune – I had to stop halfway though cos I realized I could have been endangering the passengers on the bus, not to mention, myself!
This isn’t me, I thought. I was a victim of road rage and this time I took it a lil too far. Note to self – no more Red bulls before driving…even if it was intended to stop me from dozing off in traffic.
…Maybe it was the Bad cop’s AC that was malfunctioning or the prospect of having to (effectively) sign my life away. But whatever it was, that heat was hotter than N1000 Suya consumed at 12noon inside a jam-packed Moluwe…in stand-still traffic.
Where’s a lawyer when you need one? I had practised all damn night for this interview and even went online to study common interview questions. I was now in a 1-2-1 situation with a guy who invariably wanted to do a 1-8-7 on my 4-1-9, lying ass. There was no way I was going to commit to bringing N200m during my 6 month-probation! Even armed robbers were not making that kind of salary, were they?
In those last few seconds, as I stared at the contract and the BIC biro lying next to the dotted lines, I imagined what my life would be like on a daily basis – it sure beat any scary movie I’VE ever seen! You wake up in the morning…stressed. Drive to work…stressed. Sit at your desk…mega-stressed because you sure aint going to get N200m just by staring at your laptop. You shudder at the mere sight of your boss because you know what’s coming next: ‘T’! How much have you brought??? – Thats how your boss responds each time you say ‘Good morning’, ‘Good afternoon’, ‘Good evening’ or just when he sees you in the office and not outside begging marketing. I snapped out of my daydream. This is not how my life would end, I thought. What would the conman in Thomas Crown Affair do? I had to think and think sharpish. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks (EUREKA!)
Me: Wait, I still have another interview with your Regional Director so maybe after…
BC: It doesn’t matter. Just sign.
Me: But what if… he gives me a higher target? (giving my ‘I told you so’ facial expression)
BC (Ponders) Ok, when you finish come back and see me.
Me: Phew! (I think I’m going to be sick…)
I went across to the RD’s office and to my surprise the interview, just like the AC, was pretty cool. He didn’t mention anything about ridiculous financial targets or death warrants commitment agreements. We had a nice chat about the responsibilities in the new role and how I was expected to drive my end of the business – consumer products of the electronic variety. At the end of the interview I timidly asked if I had to see anyone else (knowing full well that Bad cop said I should see him when I’m done).
RD: No, our HR will get in touch with you soon.
Me: (In my mind, yaaay!) Thank you.
Now it was time for the hard part – my getaway. You see, there was only one staircase that led downstairs but it was right by the Bad cop’s office. The office had large windows so I knew he would see me if I tried to bypass him. I wish I could say that I summoned about 20 other guys who dressed like me and had agreed for us to all wear bowler hats to confuse Bad cop (Thomas Crown Affair) but sadly, I’m not that well connected. Instead, I waited in a corner and took a deep breath…then I walked past…head down, really fast.
BC: (Door opens) Wait! …Hey-ssssssss! …wait! ….Oga! Abeg, help me call that man…Wait! …ssssssss!!!
As I exited the building with supposedly deaf ears I looked across to my dad’s driver who was parked near the bank’s gate. As I began to jog to the car I prompted him to start the engine (just in case Bad cop was making his way behind me). The driver must have been thinking 1 of 2 things when I jumped in shouting, ‘GO-GO-GO-GO!’ – Either I had come to the wrong bank and was late for my interview elsewhere OR I had just stolen millions (ahead of my intended target). We fled the scene and like Sodom & Gomorrah I didn’t dare look back.
About 2 weeks later I received a letter from that bank. I opened it, prayerfully, hoping it wasn’t one of those ‘Unfortunately…’ letters. I breezed through the first paragraph which was purely introductory. By the time I skipped to the second paragraph and read just 4 words, ‘We are happy to…’ I went ballistic. I vaguely remember popping open a bottle of wine after going through my remuneration package and jubilating with my family. Everything conveyed in my offer letter was more than satisfactory. I still did about 3 detailed searches on the letter for any dotted lines linked to the dreaded ‘commitment agreements’ until I was absolutely certain that there was no hidden catch.
Consequently I accepted the offer. I was to resume in March 2007, allowing me enough time to get myself together with regards freighting my stuff, evading gym and internet subscription payments, applying for last minute UK loans, a last glance at the Red Light District, etc. I was looking forward to grabbing this unique job opportunity by the neck and asking it ‘Who’s your daddy, b**ch?’ I had faced my fear and God rewarded me with my F.E.A.R.
…In 2009, however, I have come to terms with a new fear…
F.E.A.R.S – Finding Eligible And Religious Spouse
The saga continues…
Of all the fears in the world there’s only one I dreaded the most. It was not bankruptcy, failure, death, a terrorist attack or even the future invasion of flying cockroaches. The only thing I really feared when I left London and arrived in Lagos (Dec, 2006) was my F.E.A.R (First Employment After Return).
On boarding the Emirate flight from Heathrow I experienced worrisome levels of anxiety. I was fidgeting and twitching like a drug addict looking for his last Ecstasy pill – I was a nervous wreck. As I fastened my seatbelt I only watched the air steward’s safety demo so that I could pinpoint the location of the nearest emergency exit…and make a desperate run for it.
It was a long shot, I thought: Quitting my banking job, abandoning my friends, clubs, bars, restaurants, gym, constant electricity supply, and all for what? A chance to settle down in my motherland and make my own little impact, that’s what. I guess the initial panic I encountered stemmed from the subconscious comparisons I was making – McDonald’s…Mr. Biggs, Quaker’s Oat-So-Simple…Golden Morn, Oxford Street…Shoprite, London Energy…Bi-monthly electricity supply, British Gas…Half-empty Gas cylinder, Starbucks…Nescafe + Three Crowns milk, HMV…Street Hawkers, …etc. Some passengers around me were praying so I prayed too. Sadly my prayer wasn’t answered – the plane still took off.
‘There goes my emergency escape plan’, I thought. I sat back and meditated during the long flight, trying to reassure myself that everything would work out for the best. Once I landed it seemed peculiar that I initially boarded alone but on getting off there was 3 of us: The Optimist, Me and the Pessimist. It was a struggle, bumping into each other amidst the luggage. But soon after checking out of Murtala Muhammed Airport I felt really positive with my return. The Optimist and I got into a car-hire and drove to the family home (I had earlier handed over the Pessimist to Immigrations…no bribe required).
Back at home, my dad had arranged a couple of meetings through some of his clients in the banking world. He had handed the baton over to me and the rest of the race was mine to win. Damn those bank interviews! One of them was actually an Endurance test – at least that was all I stuck around for. After an exhausting bench-warming marathon, despite being told to come for interview at 10am, I got up and just walked out. I gained nothing. Instead I lost 3 strands of scalp hair, 5hrs of Nintendo gaming time, and both my ego and my ‘yansh’ were deflated. That bank called 1.10pm to tell me that ‘the panel’ was ready to see me. I remember hissing though it wasn’t meant out loud.
The other bank I went to for interview gave me a more interesting experience. It was the ol’ Good cop-Bad cop routine (with a Naija twist of course). I walked into the good cop’s office, suited and booted, only to be asked 2 questions: ‘What do you have to offer?’ (Pretty normal question) and ‘Why on earth would you want to come back and work in Nigeria?’ (Wetin consign you sef!). Notwithstanding, I answered. He scribbled. I gave him my best smile. He gave me a squinted look then he scribbled some more. Note to self – No more Eddie Murphy smiles.
The Bad cop held true to the title. He made me wait 30mins in his (Prison cell-sized) office. Well if your office was half the size of the Good cop’s then you’d be mean too. Anyway, being mean is still better. This guy was brutal:
BC: What is your CABAL size?
Me: I beg your pardon sir?
BC: Ah-ah! Your CABAL in your last banking job?
Me: Sorry sir but could you please explain what you mean by ‘CABAL’?
BC: Ah-ah!?…(looks at my cv) Oh ok, you worked in LONDON, I see. So, what was the volume on the accounts you managed? Give me the naira equivalent.
Me: I don’t have the exact figure…but it was a lot.
BC: How won’t you know? You should know! It is your responsibility!
BC: So how much are you committing to bring to this bank?
Me: ‘Committing’ sir?
BC: Eh-now…give me a figure.
Me: (2-minute silence) what figure is reasonable sir?
BC: (Laughs) you should be the one to tell me. What level are you applying for?
Me: SBO (Senior Banking Officer)
BC: So you should be able to do at least N200m…that’s even too small, but you just arrived, abi?
Me: (Gulp followed by adjusting my neck-tie for air supply) Y…….es.
BC: So how are you going to achieve this N200m target?
BC: eEEehn! Like who? (Gets out his pen and opens his diary/notepad)
Me: I have like 5 top clients, Nigerians, whom are planning to move their accounts to Nigeria (bullshit). They have thousands of pounds (more bullshit). They also know contacts that I can speak to in order to get more funds for the bank (…bullshit overload).
BC: Mm-hmm. (Scribbles) So you should be able to bring N100m within 3months, eh?
Me: I…should be able…to do that, sir.
BC: Whats the problem? Are you okay?
Me: Nothing…Is it hot in here?
BC: No. You’re just not used to Nigerian heat yet. Sign here…
Me: Er…Sign what?
BC: Your commitment agreement.
Me: (In my mind, ‘F**********K!!!’)
To be continued…
...because life happens to all of us & sometimes we get a second chance...
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